DIOCESAN synods should encourage the participation of other Christian Churches to express "a concrete commitment to concrete ecumenism", the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity said in Rome this week.
Cardinal Edward Cassidy told members of the Rome diocesan synod that by including nonCatholic representatives they could help draw the "lines of conduct which will determine the pastoral programmes of the coming years".
The cardinal said the value of including members of other denominations did not depend on the number of non-Catholics in the dioceses, but on a belief that Christians were called by Christ to work for the unity of their Churches.
But Cardinal Cassidy's call coincided with the Vatican's warning to the Church of England that its decision last week to permit the ordination of women had placed "grave obstacles" in the way of unity.
Cardinal Cassidy said ecumenism was a "dimension which must be present in the entire pastoral plan of the Church".
• Catholic scholars involved in 27 years of dialogue with US Orthodox representatives this week warned fellow Catholics that "at the present moment we are in danger of repeating yet again the same mistakes that in times past have deepened the estrangement between the Christian East and West".